William and Chandra Vandry, and our friend Flo

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Each year around Christmas, we find interesting social activities.  We see parties, fundraisers, etc.  Charity is an interesting term.  I read a great definition on charity, where it states: “your contribution is a charity, a gift that empowers and gives thanks to the healing, not the healer. It is not possible to pay enough for the gift of health you receive. What is possible is to make certain your intention is correct and pure and your offer is genuine.”

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My wife and I privately do charitable works.  A charity can be anything altruistic or caring of a need.  The philosophy should not be to wait for a thank you, or an email or letter.  It should simply be to get the job done, and move on.  Usually if we do something charitable, we simply do the foot soldier work.  I wrote an article two years ago about the types that stop in for a 30 minute photo op and leave.

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“Sometimes, people give not because they’re concerned about somebody else’s needs, but because they want to feel good about themselves,” says Maj. Doug Hammond, pastor at the Salvation Army church on Dovercourt Rd.

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“That attitude subverts what should be the main message – that everyone “is in this together, and we’re just sharing,” he says. “To give a guy a bowl of soup and make him feel like a beggar undermines everything that we do because the ultimate poverty is a loss of dignity.”

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I was writing this article before I had to teach my lunch class.  While warming up, the Christmas spirit was discussed by one of my students, and his family discussion on how people are tempted to spend on holidays, and where the spirit is for the less fortunate.

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Another student discussed how people get a gift for a charity to wait for someone to thank them.  This is the type that needs some type of public thank you.

I could not disagree more with those.

My parents were always charitable when I grew up.  They gave and moved on to the next.  I learned that too.  In Jiu-jitsu, when you have a student who has been good to your school, but a financial setback occurs, you help them if you can.  In society, being altruistic or charitable is not about helping ‘poor people’, or ‘poor kids’.  It’s about giving when you understand it is needed.  The great reward, and gratitude is that person gave you an opportunity to lift them that day.

Florence Ponziano is a friend of my wife Chandra and I.  Known as ‘Flo’, she is a woman that lives East side Austin.  Flo is a tough girl.  She has endured a lot in her life, and works a lot with needy kids in her area.  Flo works on a shoestring budget.  Chandra and I keep in contact with Flo, and she lets us know what she needs.  Flo works with kids in the Montopolis area of Austin.  The area is a lower income area, but Flo works with kids who are hungry, needy, need love, care, a meal or a place to sleep.  Flo let Chandra and I know about the Christmas that Santa charged to us.  My sweet wife and I packed bags of items, toys, and she baked cupcakes and iced them.  When we went to meet at Montopolis, Chandra and I worked with separating the toys for a projected 150-200 kids. (Actually Chandra was the one who deserves all the credit with Mike)  We talked to kids, adults, and a lot of really great APD officers who were there. I spoke with some board members regarding areas of need in that area.  I want to thank Flo, and all the APD officers out there who helped a selfless, altruistic goal we all do together: to give, hug, and support kids, and more important, to always support their dignity.  And thank you all you little ones, for giving us an opportunity.  You can make a donation to Florence’s Comfort house at:http://www.florencescomforthouse.org/fchdonations.php

Thank you, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Professor William Vandry


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